Innovation That Matters

Connected clothing donates itself if not frequently worn

Work & Lifestyle

Birmingham City University researchers have created an Internet of Clothes where items will request donation if left unworn for long periods of time.

Retrofitting unconnected items is one useful method for reducing waste through the Internet of Things. Two recent improvements are wireless tags that make any item smart and a single button that can be programmed to do anything. Using radio frequency identification (RFID), washable, wearable tags now allow networks of clothes to communicate.

Created by researchers at Birmingham City University’s Future Media team, the smart wardrobe system sends messages to clothing owners. The messages depend on the weather and how regularly each item is worn. If items of clothing are rarely worn, they will contact a local charity to ask to be donated. The charity will then send an envelope to the owner to make it easy to give the item away.

The research team wants to encourage more ethical consumption of fashion, possibly leading to a system where ownership is unnecessary. The project has been shortlisted for a European Network for Innovations in Culture and Creativity award. Future developments include creating a virtual stylist to provide ideas for outfits and tagging items from point of sale.

Where else could new networks provide sustainable solutions?



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